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Best Famous Donald Hall Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Donald Hall poems. This is a select list of the best famous Donald Hall poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Donald Hall poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of donald hall poems.

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by Donald Hall | |

An old life

 Snow fell in the night.
At five-fifteen I woke to a bluish mounded softness where the Honda was.
Cat fed and coffee made, I broomed snow off the car and drove to the Kearsarge Mini-Mart before Amy opened to yank my Globe out of the bundle.
Back, I set my cup of coffee beside Jane, still half-asleep, murmuring stuporous thanks in the aquamarine morning.
Then I sat in my blue chair with blueberry bagels and strong black coffee reading news, the obits, the comics, and the sports.
Carrying my cup twenty feet, I sat myself at the desk for this day's lifelong engagement with the one task and desire.

by Donald Hall | |


 To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young, we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer pond, ignorant and content.
But a marriage, that began without harm, scatters into debris on the shore, and a friend from school drops cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us past middle age, our wife will die at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go.
All go.
The pretty lover who announces that she is temporary is temporary.
The bold woman, middle-aged against our old age, sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge and affirm that it is fitting and delicious to lose everything.

by Donald Hall | |

A Poet at Twenty

 Images leap with him from branch to branch.
His eyes brighten, his head cocks, he pauses under a green bough, alert.
And when I see him I want to hide him somewhere.
The other wood is past the hill.
But he will enter it, and find the particular maple.
He will walk through the door of the maple, and his arms will pull out of their sockets, and the blood will bubble from his mouth, his ears, his penis, and his nostrils.
His body will rot.
His body will dry in ropey tatters.
Maybe he will grow his body again, three years later.
Maybe he won't.
There is nothing to do, to keep this from happening.
It occurs to me that the greatest gentleness would put a bullet into his bright eye.
And when I look in his eye, it is not his eye that I see.

by Donald Hall | |

Distressed Haiku

 In a week or ten days
the snow and ice
will melt from Cemetery Road.
I'm coming! Don't move! Once again it is April.
Today is the day we would have been married twenty-six years.
I finished with April halfway through March.
You think that their dying is the worst thing that could happen.
Then they stay dead.
Will Hall ever write lines that do anything but whine and complain? In April the blue mountain revises from white to green.
The Boston Red Sox win a hundred straight games.
The mouse rips the throat of the lion and the dead return.

by Donald Hall | |

White Apples

 when my father had been dead a week
I woke with his voice in my ear 
I sat up in bed

and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes

by Donald Hall | |

Mount Kearsarge Shines

 Mount Kearsarge shines with ice; from hemlock branches 
snow slides onto snow; no stream, creek, or river 
budges but remains still.
Tonight we carry armloads of logs from woodshed to Glenwood and build up the fire that keeps the coldest night outside our windows.
Sit by the woodstove, Camilla, while I bring glasses of white, and we'll talk, passing the time, about weather without pretending that we can alter it: Storms stop when they stop, no sooner, leaving the birches glossy with ice and bent glittering to rimy ground.
We'll avoid the programmed weatherman grinning from the box, cheerful with tempest, and take the day as it comes, one day at a time, the way everyone says, These hours are the best because we hold them close in our uxorious nation.
Soon we'll walk -- when days turn fair and frost stays off -- over old roads, listening for peepers as spring comes on, never to miss the day's offering of pleasure for the government of two.

by Donald Hall | |


 Katie could put her feet behind her head
Or do a grand plié, position two,
Her suppleness magnificent in bed.
I strained my lower back, and Katie bled, Only a little, doing what we could do When Katie tucked her feet behind her head.
Her torso was a C-cup'd figurehead, Wearing below its navel a tattoo That writhed in suppleness upon the bed.
As love led on to love, love's goddess said, "No lovers ever fucked as fucked these two! Katie could put her feet behind her head!" When Katie came she never stopped.
Instead, She came, cried "God!," and came, this dancer who Brought ballerina suppleness to bed.
She curled her legs around my neck, which led To depths unplumbed by lovers hitherto.
Katie could tuck her feet behind her head And by her suppleness unmake the bed.

by Donald Hall | |

The Man In The Dead Machine

 High on a slope in New Guinea
The Grumman Hellcat
lodges among bright vines
as thick as arms.
In 1943, the clenched hand of a pilot glided it here where no one has ever been.
In the cockpit, the helmeted skeleton sits upright, held by dry sinews at neck and shoulder, and webbing that straps the pelvic cross to the cracked leather of the seat, and the breastbone to the canvas cover of the parachute.
Or say the shrapnel missed him, he flew back to the carrier, and every morning takes the train, his pale hands on the black case, and sits upright, held by the firm webbing.

by Donald Hall | |

Christmas party at the South Danbury Church

 December twenty-first
we gather at the white Church festooned 
red and green, the tree flashing 
green-red lights beside the altar.
After the children of Sunday School recite Scripture, sing songs, and scrape out solos, they retire to dress for the finale, to perform the pageant again: Mary and Joseph kneeling cradleside, Three Kings, shepherds and shepherdesses.
Their garments are bathrobes with mothholes, cut down from the Church's ancestors.
Standing short and long, they stare in all directions for mothers, sisters and brothers, giggling and waving in recognition, and at the South Danbury Church, a moment before Santa arrives with her ho-hos and bags of popcorn, in the half-dark of whole silence, God enters the world as a newborn again.

by Donald Hall | |

Je Suis une table

 It has happened suddenly,
by surprise, in an arbor,
or while drinking good coffee,
after speaking, or before,

that I dumbly inhabit
a density; in language,
there is nothing to stop it,
for nothing retains an edge.
Simple ignorance presents, later, words for a function, but it is common pretense of speech, by a convention, and there is nothing at all but inner silence, nothing to relieve on principle now this intense thickening.

by Robert Bly | |

The Cat in the Kitchen

 (For Donald Hall)

Have you heard about the boy who walked by
The black water? I won't say much more.
Let's wait a few years.
It wanted to be entered.
Sometimes a man walks by a pond, and a hand Reaches out and pulls him in.
There was no Intention, exactly.
The pond was lonely, or needed Calcium, bones would do.
What happened then? It was a little like the night wind, which is soft, And moves slowly, sighing like an old woman In her kitchen late at night, moving pans About, lighting a fire, making some food for the cat.